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  • ii German Contributions
  • Thomas Austenfeld

In evaluating scholarship published in 2004 and 2005, I have consciously adopted an American perspective: the intended audience of AmLS consists largely of American scholars who, aided by recent advances in Internet technology, already often have access to the writings of their worldwide counterparts in English, making a presentation of works written in German more urgent. In selecting works written in English, I have made subjective judgments concerning their significance, their originality, or simply their engaging style. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the indefatigable interlibrary loan service at North Georgia College and State University, as well as to my student assistant Annie Sanders. Dankeschön!

a. General/Multiperiod Works

Key Concepts in American Cultural History: From the Colonial Period to the End of the 19th Century, ed. Bernd Engler and Oliver Scheiding (WVT), is destined to receive a place of honor on many a scholar's reference shelf. Its 720 pages of key sources (literary, political, geographic, legal, pictorial, etc.) illustrate influential ideas in America's self-conceptualization, among them "Millennialism," "Expansionism," "Women's Roles," and "Civil War and Reconstruction." Some sources of necessity amount to mere snippets, but the thoughtful arrangements will send the reader back to the originals. Similar in range, yet completely different in focus and approach, is Daniel Göske's Poets and Great Audiences: Amerikanische Dichtung in Anthologien, 1745–1950 (Peter Lang), a massive history of influential collectors and editors of "national" poetry. Learned and readable, the book tracks anthologizers from Matthew Carey via Fireside books to Harriet Monroe and Louis Untermeyer, along with many lesser lights.

In his introduction to a rich collection of essays, The Sea and the American Imagination (Stauffenburg, 2004), lead editor Klaus Benesch notes that Europeans had to cross an ocean to approach America and never completely lost their nautical mind-set about this discovery. Udo [End Page 471] J. Hebel's "Survival Without Seasickness: Cotton Mather's Miniature Anthology of Sea Deliverance Narratives in Magnalia Christi Americana" (pp. 15–36) shows Mather's shifting from providential sea deliverance narratives to a more conscious literary use of the oceanic trope. Joseph C. Schöpp in "A World in Flux: Thoreau's Meditations by the Sea" (pp. 45–55) emphasizes Thoreau's interest in motion aroused by his writings on Cape Cod. Hilke Kuhlmann in "A Ship Called Hope? American Utopianism as an Export Article in Sarah Josepha Hale's Liberia" (pp. 57–72) casts a suitably critical eye on the author's supposed Christian ambitions in her tract promoting the repatriation of slaves to Africa in order to create an Anglo-Saxon utopia in America. Hawthorne's romantic and Melville's skeptical literary responses to the changing naval technology of their day, specifically ironclad battleships, are the subject of Wolfgang Hochbruck's "'Calculations of Caloric': Hawthorne, Melville, and Naval Technology" (pp. 73–95). Benesch reads the complexity of a ship's social microcosm through Billy Budd in "Melville's Black Jack: Billy Budd and the Politics of Race in 19th-Century Maritime Life" (pp. 97–109). He credits Melville with a full comprehension of the contradictory images the sea holds for African Americans. The sea recalls the terrors of the Middle Passage as well as biblical imagery of freedom and escape. Beginning with Margaret Fuller's engaging claim that women should be sea captains, Sabine Sielke ("'Rowing in Eden' and Related Waterway Adventures: Seaward Visions in American Women's Writing," pp. 111–34) takes the reader from Emily Dickinson through Kate Chopin to Marianne Moore in figurative captaincies by women authors. Mixing biography and literary appreciation, John R. Nelson Jr. and Berndt Ostendorf rehabilitate the literary standing of the adventurous Joshua Slocum's global circumnavigation in "Sailing Alone Around the World: Reassessing a Voyage and a Narrative One Hundred Years Later" (pp. 135–47). Against the dual background of Lucrece's assertion that philosophers should observe a shipwreck from shore and Robinson Crusoe's Christian understanding of deliverance, Paul Goetsch in "Shipwreck with Spectator: Norris, London, Crane" (pp. 149–62) inspects the naturalists' rejection of the "safe shore" idea in Vandover and the Brute, The Sea-Wolf, and "The Open Boat." Jon...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2125
Print ISSN
0065-9142
Pages
pp. 471-494
Launched on MUSE
2007-09-19
Open Access
No
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